Google Android will become the No. 2 mobile operating system in the world behind Symbian, edging past Research In Motion and Apple's iOS in 2010, according to new numbers from Gartner.
The research firm said marketing and vendor support from carriers will drive Android to 17.7 percent market share through 2010.
That is still well behind Symbian, which boasts a 40.1 percent plot thanks to Nokia's legacy volume of phones, but ahead of RIM's 17.5 percent share and iOS at 15.4 percent.
However, Android, which is activated on 200,000 devices per day, will steadily creep up on Symbian over the next few years.
The OS, which held only 3.9 percent of the market through 2009, will nibble share from all corners of the worldwide market through 2014, when Symbian and Android will combine for 59.8 percent of mobile OS sales.
Thanks to Nokia's legacy volume of mobile phones, Symbian will lead with 30.4 percent, with Android just behind at 29.6 percent of worldwide market share.
Gartner Research analyst Roberta Cozza noted that Android's ascension to second place on the worldwide mobile OS will happen two years earlier than Gartner predicted last year.
This status will be buoyed by by the launch of new Android budget devices from Samsung, Sony Ericcson, LG and Motorola in the second half of the year that will "drive Android into mass market segments."
This will serve to make Android the top OS in North America by 2010.
More broadly, the worldwide mobile OS market is increasingly becoming controlled by Symbian, Android, RIM and iOS. That would seem to leave little room at the top for Microsoft's Windows Phone OS.
Conversely, IDC said Sept. 7 Android and Windows Mobile will see their smartphone market share increase by 2014, with BlackBerry and Apple notching declines.
In its own figures, Quantcast said iOS continued to lead the U.S. smartphone operating system ecosystem at 56 percent market share in August. Android grabbed a 25 percent plot.